Category Archives: Event Summary

Okarche seasonal snowfall – record lowest

We can stick a fork in the 2017/2018 snowfall season in Okarche.  The only thing impressive about it was how unimpressive it was.  A trace of snow was observed in late October.  December only saw 1/10th of an inch.  No snowfall at all was observed in January – a first.  2/10ths fell in February and 2/10ths fell in April.  Grand total for the season 0.5″.  This is 9 inches below the seasonal average or 5% of average.

The previous record for lowest seasonal snowfall was 1.9″ which fell during the 2011/2012 season.

Record temperatures

The high temperature in Okarche on April 14th was 47 degrees.  This set a record for the lowest high temperature on the date.  The previous record was 48 degrees set in 1993.

The low temperature on April 15th was 26 degrees which tied the record for the date.  26 was also reached in 1983.

The low temperature on April 16th was a record setting 26 degrees.  The previous record was 29 degrees set in 1953.


Dangerous fire weather conditions / April 12-13, 2018

A dryline moved across western Oklahoma on Thursday (12th).  Behind the dryline, temperatures reached 100+ degrees, while humidity dropped to well below 10%.  In fact, some humidity values dropped as low as 4% which is about as low as you will ever find them in the main body of Oklahoma.   Hot and dry conditions combined with southwest winds gusting to between 40 and 55 mph caused the fire danger to reach extreme levels.

There were several wildfires that developed, and three of these became very large.  Fires covering the largest areas were located in northwest Roger Mills County – north of Woodward – and in Dewey County.  The Dewey County fire became the largest, stretching nearly 30 miles by late evening.

Hot spots detected by GOES East satellite.

Hot spots detected by GOES East satellite.

This is a large download, but an excellent presentation of the fires as seen by satellite:  LINK

I drove to the Dewey County fire and witnessed some incredible fire behavior.  A few images from the trip:

Looking west from 3 miles south of Taloga.

Looking west from 3 miles south of Taloga.

Fire danger will remain extreme on Friday the 13th.  The dryline will push east of Oklahoma City by early afternoon.  Gusty southwest winds, low humidity and warm temperatures will cause fire danger to once again rise rapidly.  The large fires over northwest Oklahoma are not likely to be extinguished overnight, and will be capable of spreading out of control once conditions deteriorate on Friday.

Friday fire weather threat:

Friday, April 13, 2018:

Fires across western Oklahoma continued to rage on Friday.  The largest fire grew from the Dewey County fire complex that began on Thursday.

The wind in Okarche started the day from the southwest.  It shifted to the west and northwest during the afternoon and evening.  This brought ash and smoke into Okarche, reducing the visibility by sunset to around one mile.

Saturday, April 14, 2018:

The “Rhea Fire” in Dewey County continues to burn out of control on its southeast flank, with an active head approaching northeast Custer County.   It has been a very windy day across Oklahoma with northwest winds gusting to between 45 and 60 mph.  The peak wind in Cheyenne has been 58 mph, and in Okarche, 57 mph.  If the day ended at 4 pm, the average wind speed of 25 mph in Okarche would be our highest of record.  The wind will be falling off the remainder of the day, so the average will be less.

Humidity values have improved over those of Thursday and Friday, but remain low enough (around 30% at the fire ground) to cause problems.

At an estimated 240,000 acres burned, this is one of the largest fires ever recorded in Oklahoma.  It has grown considerably since that estimation, and has the chance to become one of the top ten largest fires recorded in the Southern Plains.





Oklahoma Wildfires – March 6, 2018

Strong northwest winds developed across Oklahoma during the late morning hours of March 6th.  The wind combined with very dry air caused fire danger to reach extreme levels, and numerous fires broke out across the state.  In Okarche, the peak wind reached 53 mph.

Heat from fires stood out quite well on GOES-East, infrared satellite imagery, and visible imagery showed numerous smoke plumes by early evening.  The most intense burning occurred in Texas, Ellis, Woods and Osage counties.

Smoke from a fire in Woods County spread across Okarche and into the OKC metro area.  Here is a link to time lapse video from Okarche which showed the arrival of the smoke:


Okarche February and Winter climate summary


February in Okarche was considerably cooler than average.  The temperature of 38.3 degrees was 3.4 degrees below average.  A dent was made in the long-term drought with 1.84″ of precipitation over the last half of the month.  This was 113 percent of average or 0.21″ above.  Total snowfall was 0.2″ which was only 7 percent of average or 2.8″ below.

For the meteorological winter, the average temperature was 38.0 degrees which was 1.4 degrees below average.  Total precipitation was 2.28″ which was only 53 percent of the average or 2.02″ below.

So far this season, the total snowfall has been 0.3″.  The record lowest snowfall total for a season was in the winter of 2011/2012 when 1.9″ fell.

Okarche Record Precipitation

The total precipitation on February 17th was a record setting 0.52″.  The previous record was 0.45″ set in 2008.

Also… this put an end to a streak of 118 days with “less than one inch of precipitation”.  This is the second longest such streak, and only the third time a streak exceeded 100 days.

Record number of days with total less than one inch of precipitation:

1. 138 days – November 15, 1985 until April 1, 1986

2. 118 days – October 22, 2017 until February 16, 2018

3. 101 days – June 12, 1998 until September 20, 1998